Nov 3, 2013

Ainsley Turns 7!

Sorry for the infrequent posts. Life's been busy. October is my favorite month of the year but it's a busy one. I took a respite trip to the beach the first weekend of the month, then had to do a boatload of laundry cleaning and unpacking...which lead right up to Ainsley's birthday...then our anniversary, a big landscaping project...(with cable outage for 4 days), a big photo project for the school and then Halloween. Phew. So, I've decided to divide all this into two posts.

It's not uncommon for parents of special needs kids to struggle to buy gifts for their child. Often the child doesn't ask for toys the way that typical children do. Sometimes they have limited interests or abilities. Over the years I've often bought more toys than Ainsley needs out of guilt, trying to spend equally on her what I spend on her siblings. This year I was having a tough time deciding what to do for her and finally figured it out the week before. I bought her a bunch of educational games and supplies from Lakeshore Learning that we can use for teaching her and a couple of items for her play kitchen that I knew she'd love.

Evie and Adrian like to buy sibling gifts with their own money (they get an allowance of $2 a week). Over the years I've offered to pay but they say then it wouldn't really be "from them". I'm so proud of them. We made it to the store after ballet one night so they could get Ainsley a gift. I had to laugh seeing Evie fawning over the princess Little People nearly like when she was little. I got video of her dancing to it's music, but I won't embarrass her  by posting that. Thankfully there was no tantrum when we didn't buy it.

Evie and Adrian had been dying to go to Target to buy House of Hades, which just came out. They both wanted it so badly they paid for it themselves rather than to wait for the other to finish. Not the frugal choice and believe me I tried to get them to share a copy. But I am awfully proud that I have two kids who love to read this much. Besides it is their money. They didn't put the book down for days.

As always I was feeling the pressure. Evie and Adrian helped out by wrapping Ainsley's gifts for me. Can you tell who wasn't getting to help as much as they liked? As sad as I am sometimes that Evie is growing up so much there are some real advantages.

There was no school the Friday of Ainsley's birthday. I'd planned to take the kids to the zoo but decided to just make it a day at home to play (because we seldom do) and I thought Ainsley would actually enjoy it more. Evie was ON IT! And did so much to make the day special for Ainsley. It was pretty awesome!

We brought two dining tables into the family room and created a giant fort with blankets and lights, connecting it with tunnels and tubes, decorating it with things from Adrian's "nature kit".

They even made a "lake".

Evie played dolls with Ainsley in the hidden area next to the lake.

Ainsley had so much fun!

One of the items I bought was a rainbow parachute. This was top on the list of best gifts.

I'd bought a Petit' Four baking tin 3 years ago and NEVER used it. So Evie made lemon petit' fours for the tea party she planned and that took care of lunch.

 I loved that Ainsley can actually drink some tea now.

Since it was movie night we bought "The Croods".  There was nearly no time for those presents. 

Once upon a time we made a "phone" from PVC for speech therapy. I couldn't believe that they now make these. For $5 I had to buy it because it's so much lighter and nicer. If you have a verbally challenged kid, get one of these things: it amplifies their voice to make them more aware of the sounds they are producing.

Evie got out the party hats and even had Penny wear one. So cute. Poor dog.

Oh yeah, Evie even did the streamers by standing on a chair. I totally would have skipped that.

See the cute little cans? Those were Ainsley's "big gift". She LOVES to put stuff inside of stuff. So I know she will love them and I will find them all over the house. 

Ainsley was born the night before our 10th anniversary, so I always know how many years I've been married by adding Ainsley's age plus 10. Seventeen years...Wow! The statistics for the divorce rate of special needs parents aren't good so I feel good about the fact that we've made it this far. My sister came over so we could go for a nice dinner at The Barking Frog

If you go, get the prawn appetizer!

I had the beet salad. So yummy!

We had a good laugh over Steve eating the full sized anchovy that came on his Cesar.

I had the duck.

Steve had the seared Ahi.

 We split this dessert, a Guinness gingerbread, Black Raven ice cream, Stella Artois foam topped with beer caramel popcorn. It was a real taste experience!

The food was delicious! They were so nice to us.We had a great time. We don't go out very often so it was a real treat! Christy you asked for it so here you have it.....My red wedding dress from 17 years ago.

The landscapers who did our entire yard for the previous home owner, 15 years ago came to "fill in the hole" caused by removing a couple dying trees (and a few others that were not ideally placed). We realized that we had a lot of plants that were overcrowded. The good news is that they were able to move them and save us money on the plant budget, but unfortunately it takes a lot of time to dig up big trees and bushes. 

It's kind of funny because you don't get a sense of the scale. That little boxy thing is the kids' play house, and the Japanese maple in front of it is a good 20 feet tall. After this was done they laid some sod, to enlarge the grass a little. I think it opens up the yard a lot, concealing the fence and making the neighbors house disappear. I had to be there as much as possible to help decide positioning.I'll have to post a picture after it's 100% finished.

Unfortunately there was a casualty. The cable to the house was cut....which meant no e-mail/Internet/phone for 4 days while we tracked down the source of the problem ( a large rhodie that was dug up). In our modern world, that is extremely inconvenient to say the least. I was so happy when it was fixed. Though in a weird way it was kind of nice to "unplug" for awhile.  But just awhile. 


  1. I love this post! The fort, the parachute... you are such an awesome mom! And I have to have that phone for Harlie! Who makes it? Happy Birthday (belated) to Ainsley and Happy Anniversary (belated) to you and Steve! I am so glad you got to go out on a fancy date to celebrate. And thank you for the picture of your red wedding dress! Beautiful picture - you are gorgeous!!!

    Love and miss you!
    Christy xo

  2. Hello from Cancun, Mexico,
    for two or three years Ainslhey keep changing, I love your daughter, is very beautiful, I am a mom of two boys (5 and 7 years).
    I admire the strength you have and yet all your children are very happy,
    I sincerely hope that Ainshley better and can lead a more normal life and quieter, I ask God for that.
    You are the example of perseverance, keep going and you'll see that Ainslhey get better every day, and this very large and beautiful.
    Take care a lot and always let us know how it evolves health.